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The story behind the storyThe story behind the story

It has been 50 years since Barry Schiff last flew a Ryan PT-22, so his recent flights (“More Than a Pretty Face,” page 64) were like a long-anticipated reunion. Schiff says that the Recruit used for this story was so pristine, so immaculate, that it was like a flying museum piece.

It has been 50 years since Barry Schiff last flew a Ryan PT-22, so his recent flights ( More Than a Pretty Face,” page 64) were like a long-anticipated reunion. Schiff says that the Recruit used for this story was so pristine, so immaculate, that it was like a flying museum piece. “Simply climbing in and out of the rear cockpit required laying down soft towels wherever I needed to step,” he says. He even wore gloves to prevent leaving fingerprints on the controls. Schiff claims that the PT-22 is one of the sweetest airplanes he has ever flown.

Sir Francis Bacon wrote, “Travel, in the younger sort, is a part of education; in the elder, a part of experience.” At age 38, photographer Chris Rose thinks he can address both ( America’s Airports: An Air-Mailed Village,” page 98). “As for education, I can tell you this about photographing Alaska in the winter—it’s painfully cold. Batteries die fast, fingers go numb, and, if accidentally left exposed, your nose will actually freeze to the back of your camera (which results in a painful and embarrassing yelp when separated). The experience, however, is amazing. Alaska is why photographers become photographers.”

Gail Halvorsen became something of a rock star as the 1940s drew to a close. During the last two years of that decade he and his crew invented one of the most successful public relations campaigns never thought up by a government—dropping candy under tiny parachutes to children during the Berlin Airlift. Berlin had been blockaded by the former Soviet Union and the people there had no coal or food—or candy. Now Halvorsen is 87 and is still a rock star, traveling sometimes twice a month around the country and to Berlin—especially on this year’s sixtieth anniversary of the airlift—to be feted or given an award. He is still dropping candy at airshows in the United States to show how it was done, this time from a Remos light sport aircraft that he has leased for two years. The story ( He’s the Candy Bomber,” page 80) was supposed to be about the Remos, but Senior Editor Al Marsh couldn’t stop talking about the Candy Bomber, also known as Uncle Wiggly Wings because Halvorsen would rock the wings of his transport to let the kids waiting outside the airport fence know that this airplane was the one with their candy.

Fun and efficiency sometimes seem mutually exclusive. But Senior Editor Dave Hirschman found a thoroughly enjoyable way to combine IFR, night, and tailwheel currency flights into a single, nocturnal romp around Atlanta ( I Wear My Sunglasses at Night,” page 125). Hirschman made the round robin in a Waco YMF Super, and along the way, he gained a new appreciation for the aircraft that links old-world charm with modern avionics. “I had flown this particular Waco many, many times during my former weekend job as a scenic rides pilot,” he said. “But flying it on the gauges gave me a whole new appreciation for it.”

Looking for expanded coverage online? See what’s featured on page 10.

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